Catholic Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Los Angeles auxiliary bishop Monsignor Alexander Salazar, following allegations of misconduct with a minor in the 1990s.
The Vatican announced the resignation in a statement on Wednesday. It was the latest in a string of cases of alleged misconduct against bishops to come to light this year, following the scandal of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The current archbishop of Los Angeles, Most Reverend Jose Gomez, said the archdiocese was made aware of the claim in 2005, which law enforcement had declined to prosecute, but that the archdiocese forwarded the complaint to the Vatican office that handles sex abuse cases.
Gomez said that office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, imposed precautionary measures against Salazar and a further investigation found the allegation credible.
Pope's sex abuse summit
The Vatican on Tuesday released the first details of Pope Francis' upcoming high-stakes sex abuse prevention summit, making clear that bishops attending the gathering must reach out to victims before they get to Rome and that accountability is very much on the agenda.
Organisers of the February 21-24 summit warned participants in a letter that failure to address the scandal now threatens the very credibility of the Catholic Church around the world.
As a first step, they urged the estimated 130 presidents of national bishops' conferences attending the summit to meet with survivors in their home countries "to learn firsthand the suffering that they have endured."
Scope of Catholic Church's sex abuse
The Catholic Church is also facing sexual abuse scandals in several other countries including Germany, Chile, Ireland and Australia.
In September, a study commissioned by the German Bishops' Conference showed that 1,670 clerics and priests had sexually abused 3,677 minors, mostly males, in Germany over a 70-year period.
A US Grand Jury report in August found that 301 priests in the state of Pennsylvania had sexually abused minors over a similar period.
Pope Francis last week removed from his group of close advisers two cardinals hit by sexual abuse scandals, including his economy minister, Australian George Pell.
Pell has taken an indefinite leave of absence from his job to defend himself from prosecution for historical child sexual offences in Australia.
The other member removed from the so-called C-9 – a group of nine cardinals that meets periodically with the pope in Rome – is Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Chile.
Errazuriz, 85, the former archbishop of Santiago, has been accused by abuse survivors in Chile of discrediting victims and not investigating their cases, which he denies.
Chile’s sexual abuse scandal prompted all of the country’s 34 bishops to offer their resignation to the pope who has so far accepted seven.